i element represents
a span of text in an alternate voice or mood, or otherwise offset
from the normal prose in a manner indicating a different quality of
text, such as a taxonomic designation, a technical term, an
idiomatic phrase from another language, a thought, or a ship name
in Western texts.
Terms in languages different from the main text should be
lang attributes (or, in XML,
attributes in the XML namespace).
The examples below show uses of the
<p>The <i class="taxonomy">Felis silvestris catus</i> is cute.</p> <p>The term <i>prose content</i> is defined above.</p> <p>There is a certain <i lang="fr">je ne sais quoi</i> in the air.</p>
In the following example, a dream sequence is marked up using
<p>Raymond tried to sleep.</p> <p><i>The ship sailed away on Thursday</i>, he dreamt. <i>The ship had many people aboard, including a beautiful princess called Carey. He watched her, day-in, day-out, hoping she would notice him, but she never did.</i></p> <p><i>Finally one night he picked up the courage to speak with her—</i></p> <p>Raymond woke with a start as the fire alarm rang out.</p>
Authors can use the
class attribute on the
i element to identify why the element is being
used, so that if the style of a particular use (e.g. dream
sequences as opposed to taxonomic terms) is to be changed at a
later date, the author doesn't have to go through the entire
document (or series of related documents) annotating each use.
Authors are encouraged to consider whether other elements might
be more applicable than the
i element, for instance the
em element for marking up stress emphasis, or the
dfn element to mark up the defining instance of
Style sheets can be used to format
i elements, just like any other element can be
restyled. Thus, it is not the case that content in
i elements will necessarily be italicized.